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Ashby Conservation Commission

Annual Report

Wetlands are an important resource to Ashby. They protect, filter and provide the high quality of drinking water in our wells. They support fish in our streams and ponds. They provide the habitat and food sources for the birds and animals that make Ashby a unique place to live. And, they keep large tracts of land open and undeveloped so that our children and grandchildren might also experience the quality of life that we enjoy in Ashby.

The Ashby Conservation Commission is charged with protecting those Wetlands under Mass General Law Chapt. 131 Paragraph 40 - the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act in accordance with the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations (310 CMR 10.00). In that effort, the Commission has accomplished a number of things over the course of the last year that you may or may not be aware of.

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  2. Assisted Landowners and prospective buyers in identifying existing wetlands on their property that are protected by the Wetlands Protection Act.
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  2. Assisted builders in planning and completing their projects while protecting Ashby Wetland resources.
  • Orders of Conditions are recorded on the deeds of these properties. During the year only 6 requests were made for similar Conditions to be removed from deeds because the projects were completed according to plan. The Commission would like to remind property owners that Orders of Condition are valid for only 3 years. After that time, they may be extended, if a request is made in writing. Or, if the project is complete, the commission will issue a Certificate of Compliance to allow the landowner to have the Order removed from their deed.
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    2. The Commission has responded to calls for emergency actions from residents.
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    2. The responsibility of the Commission, as spelled out in the Conservation Commission Act (HB 18.9) is to protect the community's natural resources. In that effort, the Commission has worked with the following Boards and Offices within the Town and out of Town on conservation issues over the past year:
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    2. An Open Space Plan is a requirement for eligibility for State Self-Help Funding (HB 8.1, 8.2) for open space acquisition by the town. The Conservation Commission is working in joint effort with the Planning Board to establish an Open Space Committee for the express purpose of producing an Open Space Plan for the Town of Ashby.
    3. An Open Space Plan is an inventory of the town's natural resources along with relevant maps and plans for future growth and open space acquisition. It will be a map for the future growth of the town. It is the document that identifies some of the more important pieces of land for recreation, wildlife and wetlands resources; all of which are vital for the preservation of the country character of the town and the quality of life that it provides for its residents.

      The Open Space Committee will be composed of a variety of subcommittees, each charged with completing one aspect of the Open Space Plan. It is crucial to the success of the Open Space Plan that Ashby residents take an active role in defining their vision of Ashby in the year 2020 and beyond.

    4. The Commission has maintained a membership in the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions for over 12 years. The Commissioners have attended educational workshops sponsored by MACC in Wetlands Protections, Plant and Soil Identification, Wetland Replication Techniques, Open Space Protection, and a variety of workshops offered at the annual conference in Worcester.
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    6. Commission members are also active in the Nashua River Watershed, the Ashby Land Trust, the Open Space Committee and the Greater Gardner Sustainable Growth Committee.
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    8. In the coming months, the Commission will be working with the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission to gather samples of other towns' Open Space plans and to receive assistance in writing grants to fund portions of the research, monitoring and documenting required by an Open Space Plan and/or locating free resources or expertise for assisting with some of this work.
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    10. There are currently five Conservation Commissioners. They serve for a 3-year term. They are: